Material Witness will focus on extreme textile process. Images will be posted here showing the history of my work, new work, developing projects and inspiration.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Moving To The Next Level.

Charles Wilson's student work Woman's Work 2006

Sometimes it is clear that the people you are working with and the work you are doing needs to move to a new level. There is a wind of this everywhere. Change is on the verge of happening.

The Vancouver Guild of Fabric Arts met tonight and talked about moving in a direction of advocacy for the arts and for fabric arts. We talked about our responsibility to advocate for what we need and for what other artists need. We talked about our role and ability to speak with those who are struggling in this community. We really talked about taking the next step!

Fabric artists can work in isolation and ignore issues surrounding them. Or they can take a deep breath, look around and see where they can put their incredible creativity and talents to work for change. They can, as a body of artists, have impact on their community.

This, of course, isn't a new idea. Textile artists have a long history of being change agents. They have worked and coordinated projects like the AIDS Quilt and many other projects. They organized strong Guilds and Unions for textile workers and spoke out for issues like ending slavery.

So the Vancouver Guild of Fabric Arts is now going to think about how to do this in a clear thinking and sensitive way. We will pick up our knitting needles and threads and put ourselves in places that might not be so comfortable to take a step at making change. We will start by taking little steps and introduce ourselves to others who are doing this. We will speak up and give support when needed. We will give our time and hands to do a little more than just provide charity.

The Textile Arts Students at Capilano College did this a few times this year. One of them did cross stitch on a chain mail fence near our poorest community and made requests for housing and support for our poor. Hundreds of people drive past the messages every day. They did a large group project about the housing issues in this expensive city and presented it as a major project. They used thier talents in a dozen ways.

It is now time the rest of us paid attention!

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